Who will take the Tahs to the semis?

Rickety Knees Roar Guru

By Rickety Knees, Rickety Knees is a Roar Guru

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    Israel Folau's defection led to plenty of code warring, but was it necessary? (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

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    What does Michael Cheika have in common with our two World Cup wining coaches? Like Bob Dwyer and Rod McQueen, he was a first grade backrower who did not play for the Wallabies.

    Also like Dwyer and McQueen, Cheika has successfully coached a premiership winning team at the provincial level.

    Cheika hails from the Randwick Rugby Club – as did Dwyer – and as a very mobile backrower, he is steeped in the tradition of running rugby having played alongside the Ella Brothers. A passionate man, he has the ability to drive and inspire players to give their best.

    Having the confidence to run the ball rather than kick it (and sweat on opposition mistakes) is the hurdle that the Tahs have to take in 2013. The running rugby intent will be there, but only time will tell whether the players deliver for Cheika.

    This Waratah team – like many Tah teams before them – has an excellent playing roster. The side has a Wallaby laden pack, midfield and outside backs.

    Where the Tahs are vulnerable is around 9 and 10. Will Brendan McKibbon/Bernard Foley be able to mix it with Will Genia/Quade Cooper or Nic White/Matt Toomua.

    The last time the Tahs made the Super Rugby final, Kurtley Beale and Luke Burgess were in the halves, playing against Daniel Carter and Andrew Ellis. The Tahs scored two tries to one but still lost.

    Since then it has been a revolving door of kicking no 10s (that have driven the crowds away) and journeymen 9s.

    In many ways the success of this season revolves around crisp, clean service from McKibbon to Foley, and his ability to ignite the backline.

    Whether Foley gets the service he needs and has the vision and execution will determine whether he steers the Tahs to the finals.

    It is a big year for Bernard Foley – will he be good enough? Will he stay fit?

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    The Crowd Says (57)

    • February 8th 2013 @ 8:15am
      jameswm said | February 8th 2013 @ 8:15am | ! Report

      I’d rather Hart at 9 but McKibbin is feisty. Just make sure he doesn’t overdo the box kick, Genia style.

      Foley looms as a crucial player, but if the forwards do well, his job will be made easier. I think the Tahs need to use the running prowess of their forwards as a big focus. Not just on a straight one-off hit-up that’s easy to read, but with some form of continuity. Look at them – with TPN, Kepu, Timanis, Hooper, Palu and even Douglas, there’s no shortage of powerful ball runners there.

      • Roar Guru

        February 8th 2013 @ 9:34am
        Rickety Knees said | February 8th 2013 @ 9:34am | ! Report

        JWM just heard that Sam Lane has been granted a release by the Tahs. That leaves the 10 cupboard very skinny with only Barnes and a very young and inexperienced Ben Volavola. Barnes is not a running 10 – so an injury to Foley could well scupper any running rugby. It is going to take more than this season for Cheika to get the side that he wants. I would be targeting Toomua or Lealiifano from the Brumbies.

        • February 8th 2013 @ 10:10am
          jameswm said | February 8th 2013 @ 10:10am | ! Report

          Geez imagine getting Leali’ifano. That’d be awesome.

          Surely we have some of our own young 10s to develop too?

          Agreed, 10 is looking skinny if something happens to Barnes and Foley. In fact, I can’t really who can play 12 other than those two as well. The Tahs could do worse than import a quality overseas 10/12 just for this season, as cover for those two.

          • February 8th 2013 @ 11:06am
            Crazy Horse said | February 8th 2013 @ 11:06am | ! Report

            The Tahs have the strongest Premier Grade competition in the country right in their back yard. Why aren’t they doing most of their recruiting from there instead of poaching overpriced players from other teams?

            • February 8th 2013 @ 11:52am
              formeropenside said | February 8th 2013 @ 11:52am | ! Report

              Its not even like To’omua or Lilo are NSW-men coming home, like Hooper did. To’omua is a Queenslander and Lilo a Victorian – and it would be nice to see Lilo at the Rebels.

              • February 8th 2013 @ 12:44pm
                jameswm said | February 8th 2013 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

                Yeah you’d think the Rebels could be targeting people to come home.

                – For whatever reason, there is a lack of standount 10/12s in NSW, and to a lesser extent 9s as well.

                – We all know you need a top notch 10 to win the comp, though a 10/12 type playing 12 and covering 12 might be enough.

                You do the math.

              • Roar Guru

                February 8th 2013 @ 3:40pm
                jeznez said | February 8th 2013 @ 3:40pm | ! Report

                agree with CH and FOS – if Lealiifano was to go anywhere it would be good to see him return to Vic – at the same time I don’t begrudge him being at the Brumbies as they have developed him since day dot.

                The Waratahs should not be looking to pilfer an established player like him, who has no connection to the team.

        • February 16th 2013 @ 4:30am
          joeb said | February 16th 2013 @ 4:30am | ! Report

          ” It is going to take more than this season for Cheika to get the side that he wants. I would be targeting Toomua or Lealiifano from the Brumbies.”
          Funny how the season has just barely started and we’re already speaking of targeting “Toomua or Lealiifano” for next season. Seems one SNK is back in town too, πŸ˜‰ Perth town that is.

    • February 8th 2013 @ 8:21am
      Hamish said | February 8th 2013 @ 8:21am | ! Report

      Does anyone else stop reading when they see the words Rod MacQueen?

      • February 8th 2013 @ 10:05am
        Blinky Bill of Bellingen said | February 8th 2013 @ 10:05am | ! Report

        Meaning what? πŸ™

      • February 8th 2013 @ 12:59pm
        Atawhai Drive said | February 8th 2013 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

        Don’t know a Rod MacQueen. Are you thinking of former Wallabies coach Rod Macqueen?

        If so, I’m always interested in anything he has to say.

        • Roar Guru

          February 8th 2013 @ 1:16pm
          Rickety Knees said | February 8th 2013 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

          Me too AD

        • February 8th 2013 @ 1:28pm
          Hamish said | February 8th 2013 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

          Well if you’re going to be pedantic its Rod Macqueen AM, but hey, wouldn’t want to be splitting hairs now would we.

          I’ll leave you be with your views on the man, obviously from a distance.

          • Roar Guru

            February 8th 2013 @ 2:15pm
            Rickety Knees said | February 8th 2013 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

            Hey Hamish what have you against Macqueen?

          • February 8th 2013 @ 2:17pm
            Atawhai Drive said | February 8th 2013 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

            Yes, I only met Rod a couple of times, way back. I don’t know him personally at all and I’m sure I made no impression on him whatsoever.

            What exactly do you have against him?

    • February 8th 2013 @ 10:01am
      kippa said | February 8th 2013 @ 10:01am | ! Report

      Hopefully the brumbies, rebels and force so they can all sit in the stands and watch the Reds play.

    • February 8th 2013 @ 11:05am
      rl said | February 8th 2013 @ 11:05am | ! Report

      RK – IF the Tahs make the semis, their ‘B’ team will have to get them there. They are going to be decimated during (maybe after) the Lions series, and dropping a couple of games during that period could be all it takes to not get top of the Oz conference.

      • February 8th 2013 @ 12:48pm
        jameswm said | February 8th 2013 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

        I thought the Tahs test players would only miss one S15 game during that time, being the match against the Force?

        Or are you saying they’ll get injured? The whole comp closes down for a month or so for June internationals.

        In any case we’re talking about the Tahs forwards. AAC might be the only starting Wallaby in the Tahs backline, and even that’s not a certainty. They’re likely to have 3-4 forwards starting (prop, hooker, lock and no.8), and another 3 or so on the bench (prop maybe, lock, Hooper and TPN if Moore starts).

        • February 9th 2013 @ 5:12am
          Malo said | February 9th 2013 @ 5:12am | ! Report

          McKibbon, Barnes Folau and possibly Turner as well AAC in the wallabies backline.

          • February 9th 2013 @ 6:47am
            Justin2 said | February 9th 2013 @ 6:47am | ! Report

            If that the case we may as well concede to the lions now…

    • Roar Guru

      February 8th 2013 @ 11:53am
      B-Rock said | February 8th 2013 @ 11:53am | ! Report

      Absolutely right the pressure point is the halves, but this all assumes the traditional strengths – forwards and outside backs – deliver as expected. This cant be taken as a given, and their performance will be critical in determining how the halves perform. They can make it so much easier for them by setting a good platform and offering dangerous attacking options out wide.

      Heard Luke Burgess is looking at coming back to Australia soon – he would be welcomed back with open arms to the Tahs, but would also be first choice 9 anywhere but the Reds. He will be in demand

      • Roar Guru

        February 8th 2013 @ 1:06pm
        Rickety Knees said | February 8th 2013 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

        B-R apparently Cheika is not interested in Burgess

        • Roar Guru

          February 8th 2013 @ 3:44pm
          jeznez said | February 8th 2013 @ 3:44pm | ! Report

          I’m with Cheika – the guy’s pass is just not good enough. Very worried to read that the Tahs are apparently chasing Phipps. Between the two of them I think I’d prefer Burgess.

      • February 9th 2013 @ 6:48am
        Justin2 said | February 9th 2013 @ 6:48am | ! Report

        Not at the Brumbies he wouldn’t be… I’d take white any day, he can actually hit his target under pressure

    • February 8th 2013 @ 1:16pm
      kingplaymaker said | February 8th 2013 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

      Apparently RK, believe it or not, neither is Michael Foley! Burgess not good enough perhaps.

      • Roar Guru

        February 8th 2013 @ 1:19pm
        Rickety Knees said | February 8th 2013 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

        KPM – he do an excellent Emporer Penguin impression whilst at the Tahs, but onsong he was sensational. I would have him in my team any day

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